Despite widely publicised negative reports about the state of the UK retail market following the latest quarter day figures, shoppers at Addington Capital’s Harvey Centre in Harlow appear to be coming back on site to shop.
Most of the independently owned retail businesses have re-opened including some of the commercialisation mall units and national retailers such as Yours and HMV have also opened their stores.
“We have been pleasantly surprised at how buzzing the atmosphere is” says Tim Cornford, Partner, Head of Retail and Leisure Asset Management at Addington Capital, “Shoppers are out on every mall, shopping with purpose and almost every shop is now open.”
“Some occupiers have reports extremely positive turnover in the period since reopening post-lockdown, despite the reduced footfall. It is clear people are visiting the shopping centres for their specific shopping needs, rather than browsing and spending time socialising. We are hopeful that from 4th July we will see shoppers spending more time in the centres, making the most of the cafés and restaurants which will then be open.”
Footfall is currently at around 17,500 visits per day, compared to 25,000 visits per day on the same period in 2019.
These figures appear to be reflecting trends identified by Centre for Cities which has commented that retail in smaller cities/centres is seeing a faster recovery than the larger cities due to the concentration of shops and jobs in a single city centre, unlike in places such as London or Manchester, where multiple neighbourhood hubs are spread across the city-region.
Matt Allen, Principal at Addington Capital said, “I think for all the criticisms laid at the Government, the decision to introduce the furloughing scheme has been a good one and may have saved many jobs. We are seeing businesses that have been moth balled these past few months, now coming back to life and trading. If this continues over the next few months, we’ll have proof that Government measures have on the whole worked”.
Other news from Addington’s shopping centre portfolio which include Charter Walk in Burnley, the Queens Arcade in Cardiff and Union Square in Torquay include
- Wilkos, Peacocks, Iceland and Monique reporting good trading in Torquay
- Primark, Next, New Look and JD in Charter Walk, Burnley have all reported huge increases on turnover compared to the same period in 2019
- Wales is coming out of lockdown slower than England and is visibly different. In Cardiff most of the retail is back open, but some significant occupiers still choose to remain closed as 5-mile restrictions on travel are still in place.
“We are hoping that Cardiff will soon follow what we are seeing elsewhere- that stores will open, and shoppers will return,” continued Cornford. “The retail sector may be wounded by CoVid-19, but this story is still far from over.”